My Concentric Circles

(written Sept 29, 2011)
Personally, I approach my world as a series of concentric circles in which the inner ones very much support the outer ones. So, I’m doing something a bit different in this particular email and providing my analysis, information, fun commentaries and action items based on those rings. Note – this is, by no means, a comprehensive view of each ring, just a sampling of items at each.

Ring 1: Self and family – a focus on the New Year
Ring 2: Community – Seattle School Board considerations
Ring 3: State – info on Eyman’s 1125
Ring 4: Nation – Immediacy in the Obama campaign
Ring 5: World – coming soon

Btw- be sure to follow me: Twitter: @suzilevine;

Ring 1: Self and family:

  • This, to me, is the foundation on which it all sits. While issues such as school board decisions, state transportation, women’s reproductive rights, and Middle-east relations may sit on each respective ring of my Suzi-centric view of the world, they all rest on the core circle – me and my family. As you parse the news, every-so often, I encourage you to look from that lens to see how it affects your voting decisions. Plus – personally, if Ring 1 is out of tune, then the rest collapse.
  • It being the Jewish High Holidays, it’s a particularly introspective time right now. Here’s my blog post with my thoughts and reflections for this New Year – and how I’m working on my core (and, no that doesn’t mean Pilates).

Ring 2: Community:
In this case, I’m going to focus on Seattle – and the Seattle School Board – because this affects more than just our kids, this affects the city and region’s future.

Things are far from perfect in Seattle’s school district and there’s a lot that needs to happen to get us just up to good (nevermind excellent). However, there are 4 seats up for election this year and, after conversations with many people in education whom I respect and trust – and after doing some listening and research, it is clear to me that the challengers would set the district back substantially. Here is an article summing up a recent debate w/the incumbents and their challengers from the Seattle Times. And this is the July article w/endorsements and info on each race. Some observations from this set of challengers:

  1. They all oppose the introduction of Teach for America teachers into Seattle.
  2. At least 3 of the 4 challenge last year’s progressive teacher contract and the inclusion of student test scores as a factor (but not a sole factor) in teacher evaluations. This contract was, frankly, one of the high points of what the district has done lately and needs nurturing, not nuking.
  3. While they’re all angry about where we are academically here in Seattle (which they should be –because we’re in the stone age) – it’s unclear what the challengers’ visions are for getting us to a substantially better place.

Ballots will be distributed in the next 3 weeks (and we’re 100% mail-in) – so before you cast your ballot for the school board, be sure to read up on this election. I encourage you to vote for the incumbents: Sherry Carr, Harium Martin-Morris, Steve Sundquist, and Peter Maier. Have other thoughts on these candidates? Please feel free comment below

Ring 3: State

Tim Eyman is back and it’s critical that everyone who cares about infrastructure tell everyone they know to vote AGAINST Initiative 1125 – another Eyman initiative. This initiative primarily does 3 bad things: (1) limits tolls to pay for new bridges and gas taxes to pay for highways. (2) blocks using I-90 as a cross-lake route for light rail to the east side (1125 is being bankrolled by Kemper-freeman, a longtime critic of light rail). (3) requires toll rates be set by the legislature rather than the State Transportation Commission. Unfortunately, because many people in this state generally think that paying less is better, the latest poll from King5 shows that this Initiative would pass. Today’s Sunday Seattle Times had a pretty good roll-up of the Initiative that’s worth reading.
Action Item: Help the viral push to stop 1125 by encouraging your friends to VOTE NO on 1125 and then ask them to tell their friends. For a shortcut – send this page from FUSE (or find another source of info) or even just take the section I have above and send it out. As a state, we can’t afford another debacle like this that cripples the state’s infrastructure!.

Ring 4: Nation
Let’s talk about Obama. We have 13 months left until the election and a lot is going to happen between now and then. With that baker’s dozen of months left, below are five key thoughts coming out of my experiences with his visit and conference calls last week:
Action Item:
After reading the below points, I hope you will feel motivated to make a meaningful contribution NOW to the campaign – or to start planning for when you do. If/when you’re ready to contribute – please use my link. I can then track it to make sure to apply your contribution to a future event (if you’d like). Alternatively – let me know if you’d like to get together to talk about this. Thank you, in advance, for helping the campaign!

Ring 5: The World – I’ll save for a future note…

Lastly – I’m going to finish out with a photo of a friend’s baby with President Obama last week when he was at the Paramount. What an intense and zen-like interaction! What must he be thinking?


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